‘It was the worst holiday ever,’ say holiday couple flown home after Thomas Cook collapse

PUBLISHED: 14:24 30 September 2019 | UPDATED: 14:46 30 September 2019

Andrew Charman and Michele Willis say being stuck in Tunisia was 'scary' after Thomas Cook collapse. Pic: Michele Willis

Andrew Charman and Michele Willis say being stuck in Tunisia was 'scary' after Thomas Cook collapse. Pic: Michele Willis


A Norfolk couple are safely home after a holiday they describe as their ‘worst ever’ following the Thomas Cook collapse.

Michele Willis, 55, an estate agent and her boyfriend Andrew Charman, 50, endured an anxious journey in which they had to take two flights to get home to Norwich from Tunisia.

And they've vowed never to return. They were enjoying a fortnight's break in Les Orangers Beach hotel in Hammamet when Thomas Cook went bust.

MORE: Websites crash and helplines jam as Thomas Cook holidaymakers try to get refunds

As the hotel claimed it hadn't been paid by the tour operator, the couple say they were not allowed to leave at one point and the Wi-Fi was turned off making it difficult to make contact to anyone back home. "It was very scary at times.

"We're just glad to be home," said Michele. "It was the worst holiday ever and we'll never ever go back to Tunisia. "After things got nasty the police and the British embassy got involved and after that it was better at the hotel. The staff were overly nice after the police told them they couldn't treat people like that. But there was an atmosphere and we couldn't really relax."

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The couple then faced an anxious journey home. "The day before we were due to fly home we were told we would be flown to Glasgow. We'd flown out from Gatwick and our car was there. An ATOL rep met us at the airport and there was someone from the CAA who was fantastic.

"It was a Portuguese plane and not big enough so 30 people were left behind. All the way we were so worried about how we were going to get back to Gatwick, whether we would have to get a coach or a train but the minute we landed, the pilot told everyone to go to another gate where we were flown by BA back to Gatwick. We left our hotel in Tunisia at 9am Friday and walked into our house at 2.15am Saturday.

"We think we are among the lucky ones, there are people much worse off and we are just so grateful."

The CAA said on Saturday it had operated 69 flights, covering 40 airports at home and abroad, as Operation Matterhorn, the codename for the repatriation mission, completed its sixth day.

Operation Matterhorn which runs until October 6, has returned around 93,000 people so far.

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